News: Transfer of Authority for PRT Kapisa
Story by Capt. Jay Scott
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Military members from Task Force La Fayette gathered at Forward Operating Base Nijrab in the Kapisa province for Transfer of Authority ceremony, March 13.
Members of Kapisa Provincial Reconstruction Team watched as U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Yancey Cowen transferred the PRT’s guideon to incoming team lead, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Shafa. French Brig. Gen. Jean-Pierre Pallasset, commander of Task Force La Fayette, presided over the ceremony. In attendance was Azizoul Rahman Tawab, deputy governor of Kapisa, Paul Folmsbee, CJTF-1 senior civilian representative, Lt. Col. Gholam Jeliani, 3/3 Kandak commander, Col. R.D. Aut, CJTF-1CD Task Force La Fayette LNO, and other host-nation guests from Kapisa and International Security Assistance Force leaders.
The custom of the transfer of authority is to acknowledge the change of the commanding officer of a military unit in a formal ceremony that traces its origin to Roman times. This ceremony symbolized the transfer of command responsibility from one individual to another.
The Kapisa PRT is made up of airmen and soldiers worldwide, as well as civilians from the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, is further distinctive, falling under NATO tactical control to Task Force La Fayette. While PRTs are more commonly known for facilitating reconstruction projects, the joint efforts of these civil-military field teams aid the provincial governments' ability to deliver essential services and other key development projects to local Afghans. With the support of PRT assets like civil engineers and civil affairs, the Afghan government can build the security, development and governance necessary to complete the transition to full Afghan control.
Upon assuming command, Shafa illustrated his commitment to Kapisa province by greeting those in attendance in English, French and Dari. Shafa is eager to continue the efforts that have been established by the outgoing team and to ensure the people of Kapisa continue toward a progressive future with the assistance of Task Force La Fayette.
This PRT will also be the last PRT to serve in Kapisa, and Shafa focused his team with his final statement, “Our major goal is that we have been charged to complete the mission of this PRT, so we must perform a successful transition. All previous PRT’s efforts are on our shoulders now, and how we finish will be our defining moment. So make it matter and let’s finish strong.”
During the ceremony, Cowen was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.